Efficient and low impact cleaning

In the first instance, best environmental management practice is for accommodation management to implement green procurement of microfiber cloths and mops, and ecolabelled or less harmful cleaning chemicals. Chemical use can be considerably reduced through staff training in chemical management and efficient cleaning techniques, and investment in chemical-free cleaning equipment. Staff training in chemical management should include health and safety and environmental criteria. A written list of all chemical products should be kept and updated on regular basis (at least yearly), and accommodation management should ensure that clear and easily understood instructions for staff regarding the dosage and handling of chemical products are readily accessible close to mains points of storage and uses. Safety data sheets should be available for all chemicals used in languages spoken by employees.


Staff training should be offered within the first month of service, and should be regularly updated. Large hotels such as The Savoy in London hold daily briefing sessions with staff in which issues such as chemical management are discussed. Particularly important aspects of housekeeping cleaning operations are: (i) the use of the correct cleaning products for different tasks; (ii) the use of correct dilution ratios; (iii) the use of efficient techniques that minimise water and chemical consumption.

  • Toilets only need to be flushed once after leaving cleaning chemicals in contact with the bowl for sufficient time.
  • Whilst it is more efficient to purchase cleaning chemicals in concentrated form, if these are not diluted as per instructions they will be over-consumed and/or ineffective. Ideally, an automatic dosing system should be installed. Otherwise, in addition to training and signage, clear marking of fill levels on spray bottles can reduce the incidence of incorrect dilution. Dilution volumes should be adjusted for water hardness.
  • Correctly diluted cleaning agents should be applied directly to the surface and left as necessary before rinsing off with a cloth rinsed in clean water. Taps should not be left running during cleaning.
  • The use of fragrances should be avoided where possible, e.g. rooms should not be routinely sprayed with air freshners.
  • Staff in the Gavarni Hotel in Paris regularly apply an ecolabelled deblocker to toilets that uses enzymes to prevent blockages, avoiding the need for periodic deblocking with strong, environmentally damaging chemicals.


The monitoring of chemical use and record keeping are important components of good chemical management. EU Flower ecolabel criteria for accommodation require establishments to submit a declaration detailing all ecolabelled and non-ecolabelled active substances delivered, measured in kg. Best practice includes management intervention to:


  • audit the consumption of and access to consumables, chemicals and hazardous materials in housekeeping operations;
  • prepare an action plan with measurable, scheduled targets to reduce material and chemical consumption and to integrate environmental considerations into purchasing procedures;
  • assign resources, appoint responsibility and provide training to ensure correct implementation of the action plan;
  • record the type and quantity of all chemical purchases, and indicate whether they are ecolabelled.
  • housekeeping is an important control point for waste management, particularly with respect to waste sorting and recycling.
  • use room bins that do not require a plastic bag liner
  • separate waste from guest rooms into fractions sent for recyclable fractions.


Environmental benefits

  • Water savings

Applying a single low flush of 3 L on a dual flush toilet during cleaning, instead of two full flushes, can save up to 9 L per guest-night, representing approximately 7 % of best practice specific water consumption.

Turning off taps during cleaning, rather than leaving a tap on for 90 seconds during cleaning, can save between 5 and 20 litres of water, representing up to 15 % of best practice specific water consumption

Using microfiber mops in place of wet mops can reduce water and chemical consumption by 95%

  • Reduced use of chemicals - Application of best practice techniques can reduce chemical consumption by at least 50 %


Reduced costs

Applying efficient and low impact cleaning  will reduce the water and chemicals used by the hotel and thus will decrease the maintenance cost.